Painting Flannel Flowers

If you have ever wondered about my process – how I get from starting a commission to completing it – I’m here to tell you a bit about it.

My last project was “Flannel Flowers”, which was such a fun project for me. I had a great time creating this artwork and surprised myself by painting white flowers. If you have ever struggled or thought it was impossible to paint white flowers with watercolour, I’m here to tell you it’s not. If I can do it, so can you!

I didn’t know much about Flannel flowers when I started but, with a little bit of research and in discovering their daisy-like features and weirdly-shaped leaves, I knew I was only going to love them. After researching them a little, I was able to draw their features individually and get an understanding of their shape. I was then able to piece together a composition that I felt worked – though  this process took a bit of trial and error. (I like to work with odd numbers when I’m dealing with composition, going back to my art history and the Golden Mean ratio. Thirds are the way to go!)

With the composition done, I transferred the design to the paper I was going to be working on. Using an extremely light marking, I sketched it out with a light 3H pencil. (Sometimes I use carbon paper).

After I had done all that, I set my watercolours up (having already tested and made swatches of the colours that I was going to use). I set up 2 water cups – one for rinsing and one for applying – paper towel and a scrap piece of paper for testing and dabbing excess water off my brushes. I applied the first layer, working from dark to light, leaving highlights to the very end to apply a light wash and dial down the highlighted colour later in the process.

When I create a new piece, I find that sometimes it’s a bit of an emotional rollercoaster. I have 5 stages of emotions that I go through.

1 –  This is awesome: The initial excitement when I start a new artwork.

2 – This is a bit tricky: When I come to some problems or something isn’t going to plan.

3 – This is shit: All my confidence leaves me in the middle of a piece that’s not looking right (because its not finished!!) or hasn’t turned out the way I expected (we always seem to forget that that’s the beauty of art – or, at least you do if you are too much of a perfectionist like me!)

4 – This might be ok: As my work continues and things are looking better.

5 – This is awesome again.

Most of the time I am happy with how my artworks turn out. I’m always surprised by this! It really is just about building my confidence every day and, perhaps, one day this emotional process that I go through will reduce in steps.

There you have it! A bit about me and my creative process. I hope you have enjoyed going through it with me and, perhaps, gained some confidence to create something yourself. Even if you start feeling that it’s going to be a failure, keep at it – keep working at it – and you might just find you surprise yourself too.

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